iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

-iNPLACENEWS


South Korean Company Clones Pit Bull

August 5, 2008

Booger is back. An American woman received five puppies Tuesday that were cloned from her beloved late pitbull, becoming the inaugural customer of a South Korean company that says it is the world’s first successful commercial canine cloning service.

Seoul-based RNL Bio said the clones of Bernann McKinney’s dog Booger were born last week after being cloned in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists who created the world’s first cloned dog in 2005.

“It’s a miracle!” McKinney repeatedly shouted Tuesday when she saw the cloned Boogers at a Seoul National University laboratory.

“Yes, I know you! You know me, too!” McKinney said joyfully, hugging the puppies, which were sleeping with one of their two surrogate mothers, both Korean mixed breed dogs.

The team of scientists working for RNL Bio is headed by Lee Byeong-chun, a former colleague of disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who scandalized the international scientific community when his purported breakthroughs in cloned stem cells were revealed as fake in 2005.

Independent tests confirmed the 2005 dog cloning was genuine, and Lee’s team has since cloned more than 20 canines.

But RNL Bio said that its cloning was the first successful commercial cloning of a canine.

“RNL Bio is commencing its worldwide services with Booger as its first successful clone,” the company said in a statement.

McKinney contacted Lee after Booger died of cancer in April 2006. She had earlier asked U.S.-based Genetics Savings and Clone to clone her dog but the company shut down due to lack of demand in late 2006 after only producing a handful of cloned cats and failing to produce any dog clones.

The Korean scientists brought the dog’s frozen cells to Seoul in March and nurtured them before launching formal cloning work in late May, according to RNL Bio.

Lee’s team have identified the puppies as Booger’s genuine clones, and his university’s forensic medicine team is currently conducting reconfirmation tests.

McKinney said she was especially attached to Booger because he saved her life when she was attacked by another dog three times his size. The incident resulted in her left hand later being amputated, and injured her leg nerves and stomach. Doctors later reconstructed her hand and she spent part of her recovery in a wheelchair.

McKinney said Booger acted as more than just a canine companion as she recuperated from the attack.

Her dog pulled her wheelchair when its battery ran out. He opened her house door with his teeth and helped her take off her shoes and socks, even though she never trained him to do so.

“The most unusual thing about Booger was that he has a unique ability to reason,” she said. “He seems to understand I couldn’t use my hands.”

McKinney, a screenwriter who taught drama at U.S. universities, said she will take three of the cloned dogs to her home in California and donate the others to work as service dogs for the handicapped or elderly. She said she lives with five other dogs and three horses.

RNL Bio charges up to $150,000 for dog cloning but will only receive $50,000 from McKinney because she is the first customer and helped with publicity, said company head Ra Jeong-chan.

Ra said his firm eventually aims to clone about 300 dogs per year and is also interested in duplicating camels for customers in the Middle East.

Article by Hyung-Jin Kim
Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.


Five South Koreans Kidnapped in Mexico For Ransom

July 22, 2008

Five South Koreans, one woman and four men, were kidnapped while driving in Reynosa, a Mexican border city across the border from McAllen, Texas, police and embassy officials said Tuesday, and their captors reportedly are demanding a $30,000 ransom.

According to the South Korean Yonhap news agency, the captors falsely identified themselves as police, a common practice among criminals in Mexico. Mexican officials are investigating but had no leads in the case yet. In a statement made by a South Korean Embassy spokesman, the ransom had not been paid. He added that the kidnapped group had been looking into working in Mexico but did not elaborate. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the five were alive, but Kim said officials were still trying to confirm that. Mexico has one of the highest rates of kidnappings for ransom in the world.

Many abductions are never reported to police, in part for fear officials themselves might be involved or that they would bungle a possible rescue.

iNPLACENEWS